Let’s face it, you’re probably stuck at home for at least some of your day, as of late, and what better way is there to pass all that time than to watch a movie? Here at Kernel, movies are our specialty, and with the rise of Disney’s new streaming platform, Disney+, great content has never been more accessible. Join us as we talk about ten great films you can stream right now on the platform!
Of course, Disney+ will require a paid subscription, or at the very least a free trial to access. But assuming you have that figured out, here are ten great movies available on the platform today (in no particular order):
10. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made
While all of the films on this list qualify as great films you can stream on Disney+, this one counts as a great film you can ONLY stream on Disney+. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is a very fun and unique film based on a book bearing the same name. (Pun intended).
The film follows a highly imaginative young boy named Timmy; a self-proclaimed detective, and his partner Total. A polar bear who may or may not be imaginary. Together they form the detective agency Total Failure Inc. Timmy lives with his single mother, and as he prepares to go to middle school, he struggles with finding the right way to keep the parts of him that make him unique, while also preparing to deal with the harsh responsibilities of the real world and his life. Naturally, the film is riddled with not only humor and charm, but also heart.
It’s a great example of Disney’s best original content on the streaming platform, and is sure to be an enjoyable watch for almost all audiences. For that reason, it made our list. To find it, either search its name, or look in the ‘Originals’ list under the Disney tab.
Moana is a recent Disney Animation Studios film, and has already cemented itself as a classic in the homes of many families across the world.
While most Disney fans are likely well acquainted with this film, for those unfamiliar, the plot goes as follows: A Polynesian teenage girl named Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) has spent her entire life on the same small island with the same people, never allowed to leave. But when her island and people must be saved, Moana must embark on a journey across the ocean with the help of the demigod, Maui (Dwayne Johnson) to restore the heart of Te Fiti and save her people.
The film is chock full of adventure and spirit, and is a great watch for all movie fans. To find it, open the Disney tab on Disney+ and find it in the ‘Walt Disney Animation Studios’ list.
8. Free Solo
Free Solo was not originally a Disney movie, but due to Disney’s recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox, the documentary has made its home under the National Geographic section of the service.
The film follows Alex Honnold, a seasoned rock climber, as he attempts to achieve one of the greatest feats of his lifetime: scaling the El Capitan peak of Yosemite National Park — with no ropes. 3,200 feet (about 900 meters) of shear vertical granite, the documentary packs stunning visuals with impressive amounts of human grit and determination, and will leave almost all its viewers feeling a little bit of chills or dizziness vicariously through this man.
To find it, look in the ‘Movies’ list under the National Geographic tab of the Disney+ app.
Up is a classic Pixar hit that depicts an elderly man who, after the death of his lifelong wife, decides to realize their childhood dream of adventure in the South American wild by flying his house straight up and south with helium balloons to the peak of Paradise Falls – the place they dreamt of traveling – where he plans to live out the rest of his days at peace with himself, knowing he had finally achieved their collective dream.
Much to his own chagrin, he finds an unexpected stowaway: a local Wilderness Explorer (their version of the Boy Scouts) aboard his house in the middle of flight, and needs to adventure through the jungle to find a way to get the boy home. With an opening sequence that will make a grown adult cry and a side helping of lovable animal friends, this film is too good not to watch, especially if you‘re subscribed to Disney+.
To find it, look in the ‘Movies’ list under the Pixar tab on Disney+.
6. The Toy Story Series
While possible to synopsize the majority of other films on our list, it would be futile to do so for this franchise, as it contains four movies. We included he entirety of the Toy Story franchise in this spot on our list, as just listing Toy Story 2 or 3 as a must-see movie would be doing all of us an injustice. The movies either maintain or increase in quality throughout their entire progression, but can only be fully enjoyed when watched in order.
All you really need to know is that toys come to life in this world, and all most toys want is to make a kid happy. We see them deal with bad owners, getting lost, and their kids outgrowing them across this series, and it’s beautiful at its best moments.
Most Pixar fans grew up with Woody, Buzz, and the gang. And watching them grow alongside us is not only a heartfelt story of the most human aspects of our nature: told by inanimate objects, but also a powerful retrospective on the parts of our childhood we leave behind, and how even if we outgrow things, they’re still a part of us. The original Toy Story was Pixar’s first film, and with Toy Story 4 being one of their latest, the franchise has grown alongside the entire history of the studio and its fans.
To stream any of the Toy Story movies, look in the ‘Movies’ list within the Pixar section on Disney+.
With one of the most iconic soundtracks in recent history, and a story adored by millions and millions around the world, Frozen is miraculous, fun, and subversive in all the right ways.
Depicting two sisters, one with magical ice powers (Elsa) and the other blind to them (Anna), the entirety of Arendelle is mistakenly frozen over as Elsa flees to the mountains. Anna must go and find her sister and bring her back to unfreeze the land before it’s too late.
The movie is a staple of modern Disney culture and is a must see, if not for its touching message, then at least for its gorgeous visuals. And with the “stay home” mandates by many nations due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Disney has placed Frozen II on the service as well for all the families staying at home.
Find Frozen in the ‘Walt a Disney Animation Studios’ list under the a Disney tab on Disney+.
Avatar has made a name for itself as the second highest grossing film internationally of all time, and for good reason. Having groundbreaking CGI for its time and a truly unique concept, audiences flocked to theaters worldwide to see the spectacle that was Avatar during it’s run in theaters.
We see movies all the time about aliens of a more advanced civilization arriving on Earth, be they friendly or hostile, but what if it was the other way around? What if WE were the aliens? That’s the premise Avatar explores, as we see a distant planet in the far future that has been settled on by humans with highly advanced machinery with the intent of mining a precious material at the planet’s core. The conflict arises with a native species of sentient bipedal life forms called the Na’avi, with blue skin and an almost symbiotic connection to the planet and its life. In order for humans to obtain the mineral they desire, they must ravage the homes of this population, and in order to subvert them and make them move, the Avatar program is started. The humans grow artificial na’avi bodies that they can connect to remotely and use as their own to infiltrate the existing na’avi.
Clearly drawing parallels to one significant part of western history, this concept explores the reality of a situation like this, and raises the question of who discovered land and resources really belongs to.
Avatar is science fiction at its best, and you can find it on the main page of Disney+ under several lists, or you can search for it.
3. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars is known far and wide for its rich stories, characters, and world building. Or rather galaxy building. Like the Toy Story franchise, it would take far too much time to explain the Star Wars franchise to you, especially since “Empire” is the fifth episode of the entire franchise!
We included this specific episode of the series on our list, as it is widely considered by most fans to be a great film, and it would upset the fewest fans with its inclusion on our list. Lots of Star Wars fans love the original trilogy, but despise the prequels. Many fans adore the prequels and can’t stand the sequels. Many fans love and hate some combination of the nine main films. While the best and worst are hotly debated among fans, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is generally well received by The majority of fans, and thus has made our list.
While we included this film specifically for its great storytelling, interesting settings, amazing chemistry, and charming characters, we encourage you to watch all the films under the Star Wars tab and decide for yourself which ones you like and don’t like!
2. Avengers: Endgame
Fans of Marvel may have noticed the studio’s occlusion in this list thus far, but rest assured, that is not without reason. Almost every film made by Marvel Studios is worthy of a spot on this list, but there are so many Marvel Studios films that even if this entire list was comprised of them, we wouldn’t have even covered half of them! And to add on to that, not all of them are on Disney+ yet because of existing licensing deals and negotiations with other streaming services and studios. But one of the best Marvel films you can stream today on Disney+ is without a doubt, Avengers: Endgame.
The culmination of the entire Infinity Saga, Avengers: Endgame packs over three hours of nonstop MCU action, callbacks, and spectacle. With the largest cast in Marvel history, all the cards are on the table, as the Avengers unite once and for all to finish the fight against Thanos: their greatest foe.
We won’t go into too much detail, so as not to spoil any movies prior to this in the timeline, but it is u questionably worth seeing. That said though, DO NOT watch this movie without seeing as many of the films that take place before it, because you won’t enjoy it even half as much if you haven’t seen the movies that came before it. Some of these movies will not be on a Disney+ at the time of writing this, but we highly encourage you rent, buy, or stream however you legally can, as many of the movies before this one as possible before seeing this film.
When you’re ready to watch “Endgame”, you can find it under the Marvel section in the ‘Movies’ list on Disney+
1. The Lion King (1994)
To round off our list, we recommend The Lion King. The film is a staple of Disney’s ‘90’s Renaissance, and has stood the test of time flawlessly ever since its release in theaters. Both this film and it’s live action counterpart are on Disney+, but we recommend seeing the animated version first, and then seeing the live action one, as you’ll get more enjoyment out of watching them this way.
While we hardly need to recite the plot for many of you, here goes for consistency’s sake: the prince equivalent and rightful heir to the throne of the African pride lands is cast out and must return years later to save the pride lands, his friends, and his family from oppressive rule and restore order to the food chain and the circle of life. And yeah, if you didn’t pick up on it, they’re lions.
The film displays strong themes and motifs, and has proven to even be helpful in consoling grieving children with its message of “No one’s ever really gone.” and the circle of life. It’s powerful stuff, and we’re glad it holds a permanent spot in the Disney+ library.
To stream The Lion King, look in the ‘Walt Disney Animation Studios’ list under the Disney tab on Disney+.
What did you think of our picks? Do you have any movies on Disney+ you want to recommend? Sound off in the comments on our website, or let us know on Twitter so we can hear what you have to say. Make sure to stay tuned to Kernel, be it on our app or on our website, for all the latest on movies and TV, and as always, thanks for reading.